Positive Adjectives Used In The Classroom With Children

POSITIVE ADJECTIVES – Can the use of positive adjectives in the classroom make a difference in children’s well-being? Definitely YES. Discover from an English teacher how and why.

Have you ever heard of a perfect classroom? I’ve not, but if you have, then that’s probably a myth. As a teacher, you may have noticed that every student is different. Some are good in academics, some are good in sports. Some have excellent social skills, while the others take the time to open up. Some are cheerful and zesty yet some remain silent. Some are excited about the class and some just want to hear the bell go off.

My class was no different, and I initially had problems dealing with my students.

My Classroom

I teach a group of young fifth graders, 35 to be accurate, who are all 10-11 years old. Unlike my other classes, the first week with my new students wasn’t comfortable as many of them were distracted and some even seemed disinterested in what they were learning. Only a few took interest and participated while there were some who wanted to talk but kept holding themselves back. It gets really tough, especially when you’re teaching ESL to them. I started to doubt my teaching skills, but turns out it wasn’t me after all (phew!). I took a gasp of relief and tried to get to the real problem and fix it early on.

By observing my students and by finding out more about their background, I narrowed down to a list of 14 students who had some problems that were affecting their behavior. My observations unveiled the fact that many of those 14 students had family issues, a troubled household, and lack of attention causing loneliness. A few felt insecure about their appearance and how they were being picked on by others.

These were some serious issues that are enough to damage your self-confidence and make you unhappy.

Introducing Positive Adjectives: The Chosen Words

I planned to reinforce some positivity in my classroom, and what better way to do it than using ‘words’, right? Yes. Using positive adjectives in my class was the best solution. Students need to have a positive approach to life and positive words, appreciation, and encouragement are a vital part of their early development.

So I made a list of 12 simple positive adjectives (descriptive type) and divided them into groups of 3. Since everyone in my class uses smartphones, I made flashcards for each adjective on Cram with their meanings on the flip side. I shared them with my students and work got so much easier.

Group 1Group 2Group 3Group 4
Adaptable   Courageous CourteousAmbitious   Resourceful CreativeDiligent   Reliable SensibleExuberant   Gregarious Philosophical

These were the twelve positive adjectives I chose to use in my classroom early on. Thus began the experiment to introduce the ‘Positive Approach’ to lighten up the mood and invite active participation.

The Positive Month

As I had mentioned, some of the kids in my class were unhappy. I already knew what was bothering them. Their problems were common and well known to me. Since this was the fifth grade, it was still easy to shape them and bring a change in their behavior and way of thinking. It was a learning experience for the remaining students as well.

After dividing the adjectives into groups of 3, it was now time to implement them into our everyday routine. But how? My students react better to stories and tales. So I thought of approaching every positive adjective with a short story.

As a teacher of English, you have already gone through loads of Literature and that way, you often become a good storyteller to engage your students. Luckily, I could come up with good stories that are relevant to the current times as a background for each of my chosen words.

I planned a month long process and focussed on one group of adjectives per week. I also asked them to implement over weekends what they learned in class and write a small article about their experience.

Week 1

Adaptable, Courageous, and Courteous

My aim for the first week was to instill self-confidence and make the students feel positive about themselves, ignore the negativity and be kind to others.

Week 2

Ambitious, Creative, Resourceful

The second lesson after self-belief and kindness was to make my students think out of the box. Children should know how to approach their dreams, know their limitations and utilize what’s available to them to the fullest.

Week 3

Diligent, Reliable, Sensible

The next phase focused on imparting a sense of responsibility, completing work on time, and sensing what’s correct and what’s wrong.

Week 4

Exuberant, Gregarious, Philosophical

Finally, the last week of the month was meant to teach my students the power of being cheerful and positive around people, and the impact it had on their attitude. Students must learn to be rational and calm while going through difficulties and facing disappointments.

I carefully framed stories that were very close to the situations that some students were facing at home. There was a subtle indication to those students without singling them out or making their condition public as I knew they’d feel awkward. I certainly didn’t want that to happen.

The Results… 

I was happy with the results as my students were more engaged in the classroom and participated in conversations without the fear of being judged or judging their classmates. I was really happy to hear a parent come to me and share her thoughts on her daughter’s changed behavior.

My students learned to see their positives attributes over the negative ones, started to respect everyone around them, and would no more get cranky for frivolous things. That was a win for me as their teacher.

A Positive Message

I’d like to quote the example of the Solomon Islanders here. The natives of the Solomon Islands follow a unique method of cursing and yelling at the trees that are too big to be cut down. They do it for a few months and just like that, the tree starts dying and falls. Such is the impact of negative words.

A hearty message that I give my students is to think positive and stay positive. Negative words are bad and as the good old saying goes, Sticks and stones may break my bones but words hurt forever.

Picture source: flickr.com

Author Bio:

Sophia Sanchez is a passionate educator and blogger who blogs about education on her personal blog.

She is an ESL/EFL instructor who found her true calling — teaching — while she was juggling writing and a 9-5 desk job. In her free time, she watches movies and takes up freelance writing gigs. If you want to connect with her, you can find her on facebook and twitter.

Positive Words Research – Positive Adjectives Used In The Classroom

positive adjectives classroom

When Procrastination Can Be a Real Problem In Your Life

You think you’re a bad procrastinator. You haven’t met me yet! I’m pretty sure I have you all beat in the procrastination department, for while many people find ways to procrastinate at certain aspects of their life and work – for example, they might wait too long to do an assignment, write a paper, or write up their taxes – I did something far worse.

I procrastinated at life itself.

What do I mean with that? I mean that I was waiting for something, I was hoping for something to happen. And while it didn’t happen, I chose to ignore all the other options available. They weren’t good enough. I was waiting for my golden ticket and I couldn’t very well choose those other options that life kept throwing on my path, just in case they’d keep me from missing that golden opportunity when it did come along.

A parable

It’s a bit like that joke about the deeply religious man who had a ship crash and was in the ocean. He’s paddling along when along comes a boat. The captain yells, ‘climb aboard!’ The religious man yells back, ‘no, no, god will save me.’ Nonplussed the captain shrugs and sails off. Along comes a water plane. ‘Climb aboard!’ they yell to him. ‘No, no, god will save me.’ Says the man. The pilot shrugs and flies off.

Finally, there is a helicopter. They throw down a rope and yell, ‘Grab hold, we’ll pull you up!’ ‘No, no, the man says again, ‘god will save me.’ The helicopter leaves and the man have left in the water. No more people come and eventually he drowns. He arrives in heaven and meets god.

‘Why didn’t you save me?’ he asks. ‘What do you mean?’ God asks, ‘I sent a boat, a plane, and a helicopter!’

What was I waiting for?

I don’t know. It was something. And I knew I didn’t have it because I was deeply unhappy and certain that something was missing from my life. I could just work at home more than at the office. Every day I went through the motions of living, but it all felt like a sham – because I was meant for better things than this. Life owed me more than this. Other people, less smart, less attractive, less gifted, were doing better than I was. So where was my opportunity?

I really thought that. Crazy, no? Because what I realize now, without a doubt is that I was the stupid one. I was the ugly one. I was the one squandering whatever gift I did have because I wasn’t actually doing anything with it.

The world doesn’t owe you anything

I think my biggest problem, for the longest time, was the sense of entitlement that I had. And because I felt entitled, because I felt the world owed me something, I didn’t actually go out there and take anything. I didn’t take my chances, I didn’t take up the opportunities that came along, and I didn’t take the time to try my hardest to make more of what I had been given.

I think a lot of western people have that problem now. It’s not yet so bad in other countries. There they still don’t feel that they’re owed anything and for that reason area willing to try hard and put in the effort that they need to to get ahead. It doesn’t seem to work that way for many kids born in the west, however.

They somehow get the idea from the world around them that they are special. And that feeling of specialness makes them assume that they’ll be treated in some special way. Then, when that doesn’t happen, because we’re only as special as we make ourselves, they get angry, frustrated, and envious of those who do manage to get ahead. Even though often those people do so only through their willingness to roll up their sleeves and try (and fail).

The realization set in

Eventually, I realized that I wasn’t special and that the world didn’t owe me anything. It sunk me into a deep depression. How could it not? It struck down the foundation of my mental structure and made me realize that I’d built my whole existence out of air castles.

The truth is, it took me several years to rebuild myself after that. Only after I’d done that could I really start embracing the opportunities that life was willing to throw my way? I grew wiser, I started to work harder, to do a more writing and I decided to make something of myself (rather than assume I was something already).

Now I’m doing okay. And obviously I wouldn’t take any of it back because we’re the sum of our experiences, and therefore if I did change anything, then I’d change who I am, what I’ve learned and where I’ve ended up. I wouldn’t want to do that because today I’m happy with who I am. But still, I do hope others don’t have to go through that same ordeal.

Solving the Procrastination problem

Don’t fall into the same trap I did. Don’t wait for the world to show you the way. That’s a real procrastination problem. That’s not how it works. You have to find your own way. You have to roll up your sleeves, put in the time and learn the skills. You have to go out and search for the opportunities.

And you should never assume that something better will simply come along. It might. It might not. It doesn’t matter. Take what you’ve got until it does or doesn’t. Life isn’t about waiting. It’s about living. We’d all do a lot better if we managed to remember that a little more often.

Procrastination
Malia-Keirsey_author

About the Author

You can follow her on Twitter. Social profiles:

PS: Please leave a comment below and tell me how do you procrastinate and what ways did you find so far to overcome procrastination?

Access the list of positive words to brighten your day!